Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Rulers just don’t get it!

The appointment of the New Chairman of the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission)

The insult heaped upon the SEC by the President appointing the Chairman of Colombo Land, (he has not even resigned from his post) as the Chairman of the SEC, is bared open for all sensible people to understand that the Govt, does not care a TOSS about investors, integrity and independence of the Capital Market Regulator. That bodes ILL for the development of these markets and is a slap in the face for the SEC as well as the CSE and the future of a thriving Stock Market in Sri Lanka. The fact that the powers are insensitive to this is indicative of the contempt and arrogance in their attitude.

One has not only to be clean, but more over be seen to be clean, and in that context the latter statement does not hold in this instance when an alleged Mafioso of the Stock Market is closely associated with the new SEC Chairman. One has to question the judgment of the people who make these appointments on behalf of the Government as they clearly do not have the interests of the Country at heart.

There were allegations, yet unproved, that the said Mafiosi is a front for the main rulers of the country, and if so, it is all the more important that such an appointment is NOT made. It is not too late to change the appointment and appoint a truly independent person who is also seen to be Independent of the forces that are alleged to have manipulated the Sri Lanka Stock Market for personal gain.

Further, a person who is closely associated with the Travel Trade up till now as head of the Tourism Development Authority, which has proved to be a noose with failure written all around, is hardly the one to instill confidence in the independence and good governance within the Capital Markets. It is important to note that there are suitably qualified people in this Country who can take up this role, but who will not be subservient to the President. It was clear in Mr Tilak Karunaratne’s appointment that he was not going to be dictated to by anyone, and it was his downfall, when interfering High Net Worth Investors were permitted access to the decision makers to make unwarranted accusations. Their particular cases and investigations were taking a turn that looked to implicate them. It was at this juncture that the pressure on the SEC chief was too great for him to carry out his duties without political interference. He was right to resign, and we now hear he was pressured by the powers to resign. So yet again the blame lies in HE.

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